Mental Health Awareness Week is on from 10 – 16 October with the theme of ‘connect with nature for good mental health and wellbeing'.
Connecting with nature has been shown to help reduce stress and mental distress, and provide significant boosts in mood. This can be anything from hiking in the Ruahines to taking a gentle stroll beside the Manawatu River. Even if you can’t get outside, you can always bring nature to you, by creating a green space with plants, or even photos of nature.
MDHB’s Mental Health Promotion Advisor, Elizabeth Dempster is encouraging people to take the time to connect with nature.
She said: “Connecting with nature has many benefits for mental health and wellbeing. The great thing about connecting with nature is that there are so many ways you can go about it. It can be something as simple as walking the dog in the park, playing with your kids in the backyard, having your morning cuppa outside, or bringing a plant into the office.
“Mental health is interwoven with other aspects of your wellbeing, and any of these activities also come with the added bonus of improving your overall health and wellbeing.”
This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week has also put a nature spin on its five ways to wellbeing.
• Connect with nature in a variety of ways, including cloud gazing, bird watching, or walking in nature with a friend.
• Give back to nature by volunteering to help clean up the environment, planting trees, and working to reduce waste.
• Take notice of the nature around you by taking your camera outside and capturing your surroundings, stargaze, or literally stop and smell the roses.
• Keep learning about the environment around you by finding out more about the local flora and fauna, and discovering the natural history of your region.
• Be active by getting outside and bringing activity into your everyday life, whether it’s walking to work, joining a sports club, or taking a swim in our oceans and rivers.
Anyone looking for great ways to connect with nature can visit the Mental Health Awareness Week website www.mhaw.nz
Contact: Communications Unit (06) 350-8945